Keepers' Diaries, December 2015
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
Ithumba is a veritable jungle at the moment, having benefited from exceptional rains this wet season. For our orphans this is a time of celebration as food, water, mud and all things that elephants love are abundant. Our Ithumba Relocation Unit was formed in June 2004 and now at eleven and a half years old is home to over sixty seven hand-raised elephants. 17 of these are still Keeper and milk dependent orphans, returning daily to their Night Stockades. This month a number of our independent ex-orphans, now living normal wild elephant lives, have remained close to home with the exception of big boys Kora and Kamboyo and Olare’s group - a herd of younger elephant orphans in the process of establishing their independence at the tender age of six years old. Currently in this group are 16 orphans - Olare, Chaimu, Melia, Tumaren, Naisula, Murka, Kilaguni, Kalama, Kibo, Kitirua, Kandecha, Chemi Chemi, Makireti, Kasigau, Ishanga and Kilabasi; a mix of males and females who are all close ex-nursery friends and who have formed their own bonded herd. In the dry season they tend to morph into different groups, and mix with the older independent ex-orphans, but at the moment they appear to be together and throughout December have not returned to the stockades for a visit. This is not unusual since last year this group followed the same pattern during the wet season.
01 December 2015
We were blessed on the first day of the month when we received good rains. The orphans came out slowly one by one because of the slippery ground under foot. They fed on lucerne with Kainuk, Orwa and Vuria had some fun and games stimulated by the rain shower. They testing the strength of each others tusks it seemed. Barsilinga and Kanjoro had their last scratch, rubbing their bums up and down against huge granite boulders before they headed off into the bush. It has turned so green and beautiful with waterholes filled to the brim everywhere, but today the orphans decided not to play in them because of the cold temperature. Later towards midday Barsilinga led the group to the mudbath.
At the mudbath it was very muddy everywhere and the air was still extremely humid so after their midday bottles they were led by Bongo straight to the mudhole for swimming. With the waterhole filled due to the recent rains the dry season puddle has transformed into a lake and the orphans can really submerge and swim. The first group entered without any fear but the second group with Kainuk amongst them was more frightened of the deep areas; but they all soon got the hang of things and they all played vigorously. Vuria turning on his back with his legs in the air, the rest of his body totally submerged! Bongo the waterbaby in our midst was on the other side of the big midday mud wallow and was mounting on Teleki while swimming. Only best friends Barsilinga and Kithaka decided not to play, and used their time in the water purely to cool down. They later came out and walked straight to the bush for browsing. Once the orphans headed back into the bush to browse they became very active, running around here and there, trumpeting with ears out. They started to scoop and tossing soil in the air. Teleki and Laragai started rolling in red soil, still slippery from the morning rain. Later they all walked home in the evening exhausted from their highly active and entertaining day. We recorded 18mm of rainfall today. None of our independent or semi independent orphans returned back to the stockades today, nor any wild friends which is unusual. This is because of the rain, clearly it is the festive season for elephants and time for regular routines to be broken.
02 December 2015
Very early in the morning, we were surprised to find Mutara’s group outside their night stockades eagerly waiting for their milk feed. Naughty Mutara has learnt to undo the gate, despite the electrified fence. The group had come out after Mutara the matriarch had cleverly knocked to open the gate. These are early signs of the older orphans within the independent group beginning to seek more independence, and we watch and observe as they choose their own rhythm. This is not the first time Mutara has done this. It is always a difficult decision as with independence comes less milk bottle feeds too! The rest of the babies were released from their lion proof night stockades to have their milk and Lucerne supplements, which they love still, although with so much rain around and bountiful greens everywhere there is simply no shortage of food. Bongo started scratching with Sities, Shukuru, Suguta and while Kainuk eagerly struggling to get the first share of lucerne. Bongo took some extra lucerne and carried it on his head to hide and eat without being disturbed.
Later the whole group walked to the bush for browsing. In the bush each one was struggling to fill his/her stomach with fresh and highly nutritious pasture. Bongo predictably found a small pool of water and started playing in it; he was joined by Vuria,Bomani and Garzi. The group later headed to the main mudbath. The main mud bath had alot of water. After their milk the majority of them, led by Mutara, played in vigorously with Suguta trying to kick Mutara when playing.Then Bongo led them out for browsing. No ex- orphan’s or a wild elephants appeared today today and we had no more rain.
03 December 2015
The orphans left the stockade in a jovial mood although Bongo was slightly limping after being pushed by Mutara the night before. The orphans briefly settled for Lucerne before being led away by Kanjoro. Kithaka and Barsilinga lagged behind as they enjoyed scratching against the nearby rocks. Given the flourishing vegetation due to the good rains being received in the area, the orphans didn't walk far but settled a few metres away from the stockades to browse. As the day progressed, Laragai kept on moving further away because she was thinking that the vegetation ahead was slightly better. At mud bath time the temperatures were moderate and the orphans only took their milk before returning back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, Lemoyian teamed up with Turkwel in browsing and later shifted base and went to browse with Kainuk.
Towards evening, the orphans came across water and enjoyed a bath. Mutara, Garzi, Bongo and Vuria prolonged their wallowing as the rest of their friends stood at the edge of the dam to dry up. After Mutara finished wallowing, she briefly engaged Suguta in a light pushing game, before Kithaka led the way back to the stockade for the night eager for his bottle and fresh cut grewia branches.
05 December 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans settled briefly for lucerne. Shukuru wasn't interested in her food so she kept throwing it on her back. Narok found two suitable rocks that she used to scratch herself, whilst Mutara saw some nice leaves that were high above, so she tried to stretch her trunk to get them but couldn't reach. The only alternative was to step on a rock that was close to the tree. By doing so she was able to get the leaves.
Kanjoro led the way to the browsing field and on the way, Orwa tried to challenge Mutara in a strength testing exercise. An hour after the orphans had left for browsing, the independent ex orphan herd led by Yatta and Mulika arrived at the stockades. They had been away for some time enjoying paradise. Wendi arrived with baby Wiva walking close to her and the ever present nannies Sunyei, Sidai, Lenana Nasalot and Kinna ever present. At the browsing field, Mutara and Orwa spent some time rolling on the ground as Turkwel just stood aside watching them.
At mud bath time, Barsilinga, Kithaka, Lemoyian and Shukuru just stood at the water’s edge and didn't participate in wallowing. Kainuk like most days left the mud bath in a charging mood. She splashed water with her ears raised then trumpeted as she left the mud bath chasing dragon flies and butterflies. In the afternoon, the orphans came across more water and spent a lot of time playing in it. The remaining part of the day was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing.
06 December 2015
It was a damp morning following showers that were received for most of the night. Led by Kanjoro, the orphans headed straight to the browsing field with no dilly dalling around the stockades today. Towards eight o’clock in the morning, Turkwel led the group into a wet soil bathing exercise by rolling on the ground. Later, Kithaka and Bongo the water boy came across stagnated water that they used to cool themselves down by spraying water behind their ears.
At mud bath time, Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian boycotted the watergames and continued to eat. Vuria and Teleki had a game of mounting one another while still in water. Mutara played a game of sitting in the water with her trunk raised up in the air. After wallowing, Suguta and Orwa used a nearby tree to scratch themselves getting rid of any ticks and tickles. Back to the browsing field, Lemoyian teamed up with Bomani in feeding and from time to time Lemoyian tried to insert his trunk in Bomani's mouth.
Today was a hot one which prompted Turkwel, Teleki, Sities, Barsilinga, Bomani, Laragai and Bongo to take a break from feeding to hide from the scorching sun under the plentiful shade everywhere. When the temperatures dropped to a favourable level, the juniors resumed to browse.
07 December 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning, the orphans briefly relaxed outside the stockade compound. Kainuk relaxed her trunk on Vuria's back as he concentrated on scratching on the rocks. Shortly after, Vuria finished his scratching exercise Garzi came close and tried to engage him in a light pushing play. Garzi was defeated and opted to walk to where Kithaka was scratching and avenged his defeat by pushing Kithaka away. The scratching exercises attracted Mutara, Bomani, Narok and Lemoyian who all moved towards the rocks to scratch their bodies. At the browsing field Vuria and Teleki both fed from the same tree as Kithaka took a break from feeding to roll and play on the ground. Kithaka's game attracted Lemoyian that joined him in rolling on the ground. After Kithaka had enough of playing, he stood up and resumed browsing leaving Lemoyian still playing.
At mud bath time Vuria enjoyed free rides from Laragai as they wallowed in the water. Kithaka, Garzi, Suguta, Lemoyian and Orwa boycotted the wallowing exercise. After mud bathing, Laragai charged as she left the water and she slipped and fell. As soon as she was up on her feet again she continued with her excitement as she ran to catch up with her friends. Orwa and Kanjoro engaged one another in strength testing games that ended up in a draw. Later in the day the orphans spent some time rolling in wet soil before going back to the stockade.
08 December 2015
Kithaka, Barsilinga and Kainuk started the day's activities by scratching on nearby rocks like they habitually seem to do, getting rid of any overnight itches.
At mud bath time, only Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga didn't wallow, these three orphans seem not to like the water, and particularly deep water. The rest participated fully in their bathing. Vuria tried to ride on Laragai which made Laragai leave any further harassment from Vuria. Orwa morphed into the midday prefect, supervising the small boys who were not immersed properly in the water. Orwa did this by lightly stepping on their heads and pushing them under, but Kanjoro refused stretching his trunk towards Orwa warning him not to even try, and the message seemed to get through. Shortly later, the orphans finished their wallowing exercise with Mutara and Orwa the last ones to leave.
In the afternoon the orphans all congregated under a tree and relaxed for some time before resuming to browse. The rest of the day was quiet as the dependent babies concentrated on browsing. In the evening back at the stockade, Shukuru refused the company of her group of young boys Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga. She seemed distressed to be amidst them and she indicated this by trying to open the gate several time becoming restless. We soon opened the gate understanding her request. Shukuru hurriedly walked down and stopped outside Mutara's gate and started rumbling, requesting for entry. The gate was opened and Shukuru walked in amidst cheers from her age mates. Shukuru settled and started feeding calmly on the greens in now her new night stockade.
09 December 2015
Ithumba Hill was partly covered by mist as the orphans left the stockade in the morning. The they briefly settled for lucerne before Narok and Shukuru led the way to the browsing field. Barsilinga lagged behind as he enjoyed scratching his belly on all the rocks he passed. The orphans had a quiet morning as they concentrated on browsing.
At eleven o’clock in the morning, Kithaka led the first group to the mud bath. Yet again, Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian boycotted the wallowing exercise and left to wait for their friends under a tree. Vuria enjoyed riding on Teleki and later had a sparing contest with Bongo a while submerged in the water. In the afternoon Kithaka came across a suitable tree that he used to lean on as he enjoyed feeding on green leaves. Kanjoro, who was feeding close to Suguta tried to feed on some leaves that Suguta had an interest in. Suguta pointed her trunk to Kanjoro warning him not to ever repeat such a thing again and the need for respect for seniors to be adhered to! Kanjoro moved away not knowing what older Suguta might do next.
In the evening the orphans passed by a water pool on their way home and they diverted their attentions to a cool down and wallow before continuing on their way. They all emerged caked in red mud and semi dried earth and exited looking like anthills. Shukuru and Mutara were deep in communication before heading to bed that night, and we thought they were perhaps planning an early morning escape!
10 December 2015
Early before dawn, the keepers on night duty were woken up by strange sounds. To their surprise, it was Shukuru and Mutara who were breaking the stockade fence so as to get out. By the time the keepers got to the scene, Shukuru and Mutara had broken three wires. How they managed to short the wires then started breaking them remained a mystery as the fence is electrified. The keepers opened the gate for them to to prevent further damage. At six o’clock in the morning, the rest of the orphans were let out and settled for lucerne. Kainuk and Orwa greeted one another by inserting their trunks in each other’s mouth. Mutara’s group remained in the area. Bongo, Barsilinga, Turkwel and Garzi scratched their bellies on the nearby rocks. Shortly later, Orwa engaged Suguta in a light pushing game while Kanjoro played with Mutara. In the afternoon Orwa and Laragai came across wet mud that they used to roll in changing their colour from grey to red.
In the evening, Yatta and Mulika’s groups of independent wild ex orphans made a brief visit to the stockade compound with Wiva nursing on her mother.
11 December 2015
Ithumba hill was completely covered by mist as the orphans prepared to start their day. Soon after the orphans left the stockade, Kithaka started the day’s activities by scratching on the nearby rocks, Orwa picked the lucerne and tossed it up on his head as Garzi and Barsilinga had a brief misunderstanding, as Barsilinga was trying to steal lucerne from Garzi's mouth. Shortly later, Mutara led the way to the browsing field where Lemoyian teamed up with Suguta in feeding.
After the midday bottle feeds, Shukuru had her trunk in her mouth for quite some time and later when she was done, she joined her friends in wallowing. Orwa and Narok appeared to be enjoying the wallowing since they were splashing water with their trunks and when it came time to leave the mud bath, they were in an excited mood that was expressed by charging around with their ears raised and wading through the water at high speed. After mud bathing, Mutara took some time to play on the ground. Sities paired with Turkwel in browsing while Barsilinga made himself comfortable under a tree to avoid the scorching sun. Mutara developed an itch on her buttocks and used a nearby tree to scratch herself. Narok, who was feeding close to Orwa, pulled some grass from Orwa's mouth. This annoyed Orwa who moved further away from Narok so as not to be bothered by him.
12 December 2015
Early in the morning after the orphans took their milk, Kithaka was mesmerized by a dung beetle that was rolling up its ball. At first Kithaka seemed to be a little weary and frightened by it, but then gathered courage and kicked the beetle with his front leg, sending the beetle and ball rolling. He followed it and attempted a second time but thankfully missed it. Kithaka then decided to use his trunk in whipping the beetle. He scattered the ball and happily walked out to join his friends. Outside the stockade, Kanjoro shared lucerne with Kainuk while Narok took some time to play a lone game of rolling on the ground.
On the way to the browsing field, Orwa went down on his knees and started to play. Narok was behind him and tried to push him to get up while Kanjoro attempted to mount him. When Kanjoro and Narok saw that Orwa enjoyed rolling on the ground, they left him to enjoy his game alone. The orphans settled to feed at Kone area where Kainuk browsed with Bomani while Kanjoro, Bongo, Shukuru and Narok visited the Kone dam for water. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western slopes of the Ithumba hill and in the evening, Kithaka led the first group back to the stockade.
13 December 2015
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade. Led by Kanjoro, they walked straight to the browsing field where Kithaka started his day’s activities by scratching on fallen trees. Laragai teamed up with Sities in feeding while Narok, Kanjoro, Bongo and Teleki formed a squad and browsed together till mud bath time. It was a day without much activities as the orphans only concentrated on browsing. At mud bath time, the temperatures were high enough to make the orphans participate fully in wallowing. The orphans continued to enjoy wallowing as swallows and swifts flew low around them which was an indication of coming rain. Kanjoro and Orwa were the last ones to finish wallowing yet before getting out, the two boys started fighting. Their disagreement ended in a strength testing game which was a draw. After mud bath, Bomani, Shukuru, Garzi, Bongo and Kainuk briefly soil dusted themselves before heading back to the bush. The orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area for the remaining part of the day and at five o’clock in the evening Kithaka led the first group back to the stockade.
14 December 2015
It was wet in the morning following a heavy rain of 80mm. The orphans had to walk carefully while leaving the stockade to avoid sliding and falling the earth was so slippery. Barsilinga couldn't manage to walk steadily due to the slippery ground in the stockade, so he fell down and slid out of his boma. While they were out, Kithaka and Barsilinga spent some time scratching on the nearby rocks while contemplating the wet day ahead. Shortly later, Bongo with his loose right broken tusk joined the duo in the scratching exercise.
Whilst out browsing in the extremely wet conditions the orphans enjoyed every minute, slipping, sliding, lolling around and making the most of the glorious mud and water puddles. On arriving at mud bath, the orphans enjoyed swimming in plenty of water which had collected in the dam. Mutara enjoyed to the maximum as she rolled backwards, splashing the water by hitting it with her trunk while Vuria enjoyed free rides from Teleki. Bongo was in there but his loose tusk was definitely inhibiting proceedings. Barsilinga just stepped in the water then fled away so as to avoid being told to wallow just like his friends. After mud bath, Kanjoro led the way back to the browsing field. It was all quiet as the orphans fed close to one another up to evening when they decided to take a break to relax while rolling on the still wet ground.
15 December 2015
The sky was clear as the orphans left the stockade in the morning. Soon, when the orphans were out, Vuria and Kithaka had a misunderstanding. Since Vuria is older and more experienced, he ended up being the winner of a strength game by pushing Barsilinga ruthlessly. Shortly later Barsilinga tried to vent his anger on Garzi simply because Garzi was slightly smaller than him. Garzi proved to Barsilinga that body size doesn't matter and won the pushing fight. The orphans settled to browse at Kone area where there is a nearby dam. Bongo the water boy that hardly skips any water he comes across, jumped into the dam and enjoyed wallowing for a few minutes. Later he was joined briefly by Mutara.
In the evening, the weather changed and clouds started gathering and in a very short time it started to rain. The orphans stopped feeding and broke into a dance, rolling onto the ground and celebrating the rain. The orphans played until five o’clock in the evening when the keepers whistled to inform them that it was getting late and it was time to start making their way back to the stockade.
16 December 2015
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade and settled for lucerne. Barsilinga, Orwa and Narok started the day’s activities by scratching on the nearby trees. Mutara moved a few metres away where she surprised the keepers by trying to increase her size by stepping on a tree using her front feet. She appeared to be eagerly wanting to climb the tree so as to get some leaves she was yearning for. After failing to get enough of what she wanted, Mutara came down and started feeding on grass.
At the browsing field, it was still wet and Bomani took a break from feeding to play a lone game of rolling on the wet soil. At mud bath time, Lemoyian led the first group to the mud bath while Vuria led the second group and Kanjoro led the last group which consists of the older orphans. While wallowing, Vuria enjoyed his usual game of riding on his friends and this time round, he enjoyed free rides from Bongo. Barsilinga as usual refused to cooperate in wallowing with his friends and went to stand a distance away waiting for the mud bath to come to an end. When the orphans had enough of wallowing, Mutara led the way back to the browsing field. On the way, the orphan’s trunks went up at the same time, sniffing and trying to find out what was a head. The keepers tried to find what was there but they couldn't see anything. Only the orphans could explain what was ahead or who was communicating to them. In the afternoon, Vuria, Barsilinga and Shukuru came across an ant hill that they used to play on in turns as their friends concentrated on browsing. The rest of the day was quiet.
17 December 2015
Kithaka started his day by scratching on the nearby rocks while Orwa and Suguta engaged one another in a strength testing exercise. Their game ended soon when Orwa surrendered and walked to the bushes to start feeding. At the browsing field, the orphans fed as a group rather than scattering all over the field. Pastures are plenty and the orphans enjoyed the easy feeds and were happy to not walk too far. At eleven o’clock in the morning, the temperature was moderate and this didn't deter the orphans from carrying on with their wallowing. Bongo was the first one to get into the water and shortly later, he was joined by the entire herd. The orphans had a spectacular wallowing session and towards the end Bongo lost his loose tusk as he rolled and dived into the water. The tusk was searched for and when found, it was collected by KWS. Bongo appeared un-bothered although he knew that he had lost one of his tusks as he kept on touching the area where the tusk had come out and wondered how the tusk could have been lost.
18 December 2015
It was wet in the morning following a 12mm rain received during the night. The orphans left the stockade while it was still drizzling. Shukuru led the way straight to the browsing field. Sities took some time to play on the ground where at first she used the only tusk she has to dig soil which she then used to roll on. Sities’ game attracted Mutara that came to roll close to her. After Sities had enough of her game, she left Mutara still rolling on the ground. The weather was cloudy, with showers from time to time. Barsilinga, Suguta and Kithaka spent some time feeding together as Kithaka and Barsilinga appeared to be asking questions and receiving answers from their senior Suguta. Teleki engaged Kainuk in a strength testing exercise that he ended up losing. Kanjoro challenged Orwa but their game ended in a draw. Shortly before mud bath time, the showers turned into real rain. This raised the orphans playing mood as they started dancing to the tune of the rain by skidding and rolling on the wet ground.
19 December 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning, the orphans started feeding just at the stockade compound. Narok, Kithaka, Barsilinga, Bongo and Sities spent some time performing a morning scratching exercise on the nearby rocks. Teleki and Kainuk had a disagreement when Teleki came to feed close to Kainuk. Teleki tried to uproot some grass that Kainuk had an eye on. This prompted Kainuk to warn Teleki by pointing her trunk at him. Suguta and Shukuru browsed together for some time before Shukuru moved to join Sities. At mud bath time, the orphans didn't show any interest in wallowing. Towards evening, the temperatures skyrocketed making the orphans jump into what we can now call a dam rather than a mud wallow to cool themselves down.
20 December 2015
Early in the morning, the orphans converged at the stockade compound. When distributing lucerne to the orphans, a piece of lucerne landed on Bongo’s back. Suguta who was standing close to Bongo, seized the opportunity to use Bongo’s back as a dining table. Shortly later, Kanjoro led the way to the browsing field followed by Kithaka and Narok.
Teleki played Vuria and their game ended in a draw. At mud bath time, the temperatures were low and the orphans didn't bother to take a bath. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area where bongo spent some time playing in the mud. In the evening the orphans came across stagnated water that they used to wallow in.
21 December 2015
Independent orphans Yatta, and her baby Yetu, Loijuk, Lualeni, Nasalot, Sidai, Zurura, Taita, Wendi and her new wild born baby Wiva reported at the stockade when the orphans were taking their morning milk. The group didn't stay for long because by the time the gates were opened for the orphans to leave, the ex-orphans had already left. Their presence has been scarce with all the rain and food as clearly they have been venturing further afield. Orwa and Turkwel started the days warm up exercises by engaging each other in a pushing game. Barsilinga and Shukuru decided to scratch their bottoms on the nearby rocks while Kanjoro and Teleki had a brief strength testing exercise that ended quickly when Teleki surrendered. After surrendering, Teleki moved on to tackle Barsilinga who is a junior to him. Barsilinga didn't withstand Teleki's pushing game and so he quit to concentrate on feeding. At mud bath time, Garzi tried to talk to Barsilinga to convince him to wallow; Barsilinga didn’t listen and turned to hide in the bushes. As the rest of the orphans were busy wallowing, Suguta and Orwa were tackling one another and at the end, the two entwined the tips of their trunks in greeting.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area and grazed calmly throughout the remaining part of the day without any major events.
22 December 2015
Mist covered the Ithumba Hill and the entire area, with mist on the group so the orphans left their stockades and disappeared into the gloomy surrounds. Teleki and Kithaka exchanged morning greetings in the form of pushing each other but it was cut short by Orwa who interrupted their game by separating them. Sities and Kainuk entwined their trunks as Shukuru, Kithaka, Bongo, Barsilinga and Vuria spent some time scratching on nearby rocks. In the browsing field, Kanjoro threatened to push Barsilinga when Barsilinga came to feed close to him. Barsilinga didn't wait to be pushed but walked away giving Kanjoro in peace and giving him the space he requested.
As the day progressed, the temperatures rose and the mist burnt off Orwa met up with Kanjoro and the two boys spent a good long time tussling with each other. At mud bath time, the temperatures remained on the cool side only Mutara, Bongo, Vuria and Narok participated in wallowing. Teleki walked into the water to get Kanjoro so as to engage into a strength testing exercise. Mutara and Vuria were the last ones to finish wallowing both loving these wet conditions.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of the Ithumba Hill. Our dependent babies enjoyed no visits from any independent wild orphans nor any wild elephant friends today, although we heard their trumpets in the distance.
23 December 2015
It was slightly drizzling shortly before the orphans left the stockade in the morning. The orphans settled for lucerne briefly before proceeding to the browsing field. Orwa picked a piece of lucerne and moved away from his friends so as to enjoy it without any disturbance. Once Kanjoro had finished his share, he proceeded to move towards Orwa to have some of his as well. Orwa picked his pile from the ground once he saw Kanjoro approaching. Kanjoro stretched his trunk towards Orwa in anticipation of getting a piece but Orwa resisted and turned the other way. This reaction angered Kanjoro who immediately started battling with Orwa so as to take the lucerne by force. Orwa turned to defend himself but Kanjoro finally managed to pull some lucerne from his mouth. The battle went on for quite some time until Orwa decided to surrender so as to carry on with other things.
Shortly after the orphans left for browsing, many ex orphans in the company of two wild bulls passed through the stockade compound heading towards Kalovoto. At the browsing field, Lemoyian attached himself to Turkwel while Bomani spent some time soil dusting. His game attracted Orwa who joined him and together they started rolling on the ground. Teleki had a conflict with Kainuk when he tried to forcefully take some grass from Kainuk's mouth. Kainuk stretched his trunk towards Teleki warning him not to repeat such bad manners. Later, Lemoyian detached himself from Turkwel and proceeded to have his own game of rolling on the ground.
At mud bath time, the weather wasn't appetizing for the orphans to take a bath as only Mutara, Kanjoro and Vuria managed to get into the water for wallowing. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the eastern side of the mud bath where Teleki paired with Lemoyian in feeding, Narok with Barsilinga, Bomani with Kithaka, Suguta with Kanjoro and Orwa with Mutara. Later in the evening, the orphans converged under a tree to relax before proceeding back to the stockade.
24 December 2015
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade and settled for lucerne. Today, it was Kanjoro’s turn to be hounded for lucerne. The previous day, Kanjoro was harassing Orwa for his lucerne and this morning, Sities finished her share of lucerne and spotted Kanjoro still with a big pile. Sities went straight to Kanjoro giving him no time to pick up anything. The no-nonsense Sities knocked Kanjoro away and took the pile for herself! Kanjoro didn't even think of retaliating for he knew very well that it would be a waste of energy since he would never win.
At eleven o’clock in the morning, the orphans had their milk and since they had done a lot of mud bathing in the bush, they only drank water then before returning back to the browsing field. The orphans settled to feed at Kanziku area where Narok spent some time playing with Orwa. Lemoyian relaxed under a tree with his back leg crossed like a Maasai, as Laragai spent some time picking grass from Bongo’s mouth. Today we had no ex orphan visits.
25 December 2015
Barsilinga started his day by engaging Orwa in a strength testing exercise. Though Barsilinga lost his game to Orwa, he left Orwa knowing that in the near future, he must be prepared to face a stiff challenge from this fast growing boy.
Shukuru who is always so selective in what she feeds on and who never grows fat, was enjoying plucking leaves of a Terminalia tree. She lagged behind, plucking her leaves as the rest of the herd headed to the browsing field. Shukuru joined them later when she had enough of her Terminalia leaves. We are worried about Shukuru again as she seems to be unwell. This matter was reported to Angela and medication has been planned for.
Today Barsilinga saw some leaves on a tall tree that he really wanted; since he was not tall enough to reach the soft, high ones, he clambered on a rock so as to increase his height. Lemoyian browsed with Suguta and Kanjoro, Teleki with Bongo and Sities with Turkwel. Later Kanjoro had a strength testing exercise with Teleki and the boys pushed and shoved for a good long time.
Towards ten o’clock in the morning, the ex-orphans brought baby Wiva to the stockade for Christmas. This was a wonderful celebration, and they all look so well and fat and happy with food and water abundant. They remained around for an hour and then ambled off to an undisclosed location.
mud bath time, Shukuru refused to take her milk and proceeded to only drink water. Only Bongo, Mutara, Kanjoro and Narok participated in wallowing. Kanjoro and Mutara had an enjoyable game of pushing one another while still wallowing. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at the slopes of the Ithumba Hill where Kithaka paired up with Barsilinga in browsing as Mutara played with Suguta. In the evening the orphans passed by the mud bath where they participated in an evening wallowing session. Back in the stockade, Shukuru took her two bottles of milk.
26 December 2015
Madiba, Orok and Taita checked in at the stockade this morning as the orphans were on their way out to browse. Madiba stretched his trunk to sniff Bomani as Bomani stepped aside to give way to the senior boys. The three senior boys joined Orwa who was lagging behind in the stockade compound. The rough Madiba first took lucerne away from Orwa's mouth. Orwa didn't complain but remained silent for trying to retaliate would be inviting trouble for himself. Orok and Madiba engaged one another in a strength testing exercise as Orwa stood aside watching them.
The orphans had a quiet morning with Lemoyian feeding close to Laragai and later shifting to feed with Turkwel. Shukuru didn't seem to have her proper appetite and looked slightly dull, from time to time she just dusted herself with soil. Vuria and Teleki had a brief strength testing exercise before proceeding to the mud bath. At mud bath time only Kanjoro, Mutara and Bongo participated in wallowing. In the afternoon, the orphans went to the western side of the Ithumba Hill where they settled to browse. In the late afternoon, the temperatures were slightly high and the orphans passed by the mud bath again for an evening cool off.
27 December 2015
Immediately after leaving the stockade, Narok and Orwa exchanged greetings in the form of a pushing game. Kithaka and Kanjoro didn't stop at the stockade compound but headed straight to the browsing field. Lemoyian settled to browse with Suguta and later engaged Bomani whose tusks haven't come out yet, in a strength testing exercise. Orwa who was feeding close by, intervened and separated the two boys. An hour after leaving the stockade, the juniors were joined by the ex-orphans. Orwa interacted with Challa and Madiba and later Orwa had a play pushing game with Madiba while Narok played with Challa. After awhile the ex-orphans parted ways with the juniors and left to undisclosed location.
At mud bath time only Mutara, Kanjoro, Bongo, Vuria and Teleki participated in wallowing. Bongo displayed his happy mood by splashing water with his trunk while Teleki enjoyed climbing on Vuria when he was submerged in the water to cool off. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse north of the mud bath where Teleki and Mutara scratched on the nearby trees. Later in the day, Bongo and Orwa felt the heat of the day and decided to take shelter under a tree that had a good shade. Vuria engaged Barsilinga in a strength testing exercise that ended when Bomani emerged from close by and enjoyed trying to climb on Barsilinga. In the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath where they had an evening wallow. After, Sities, Kanjoro, Vuria, Bomani, Shukuru and Kainuk spend some time rolling on the ground.
28 December 2015
The sky was cloudy in the morning as the orphans prepared to leave the stockade in the morning. Led by Mutara, the orphans headed to Kone area where they settled to browse. In the browsing field, Barsilinga spent some time in a wet soil dusting session. His game attracted Bomani who joined and both started rolling on the ground. At around ten o’clock in the morning, the ex-orphans passed by the stockade and shortly after, it started raining which activated the orphans playing moods. The orphans started rolling on the ground, some taking advantage of scratching and rolling over those who were lying down. Vuria scratched on Suguta as Sities rolled over Mutara. When the rain stopped, the orphans also stopped playing and resumed browsing whilst heading to mud bath. At mud bath time, the orphans participated in wallowing apart from Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian who had disappeared into the bush immediately after taking their milk. The orphans had a lot of fun in water, Vuria riding on Bongo, Garzi playing with Bomani, Kainuk splashing water with her trunk and Laragai playing with Orwa. The orphans stopped wallowing in an excited mood as some them charged and trumpeted out of the water. Shortly after, Madiba and Orok emerged from north east of mud bath. The two boys, former orphans, got straight into the water and started playing. Mutara, who had gone back into the bush, returned to investigate who the new arrivals were having fun in water. After establishing the identities of those that were playing in water, Mutara turned and went back to join her friends.
In the evening, Bongo came across a still pool of water that he used to bathe in. The independent ex-orphans led by Yatta showed up at the stockade in the evening in the company of six wild bulls. The boys spend a lot of time sparring. Madiba played with Orok, Taita played Zurura, Meibai played with Ololoo while two bulls had a strength testing game with the sound of clattering ivory echoing off the mountain behind the stockades. It appeared that the bulls were interested in Nasalot as they were trailing her around and this is also why they were showing off their strength. Shortly before dark, the ex-orphans left back into the bush.
29 December 2015
Narok was the first one to leave the stockade. She walked down and leaned against the only remaining acacia tree in the stockade compound. When Kanjoro and Barsilinga were out, they started their day by greeting one another in the form of a pushing game. Turkwel led the way to the browsing field. There she had a brief strength testing exercise with Teleki which ended soon when Teleki surrendered. Barsilinga engaged Orwa in a pushing game that saw Barsilinga lose. Sities also tackled Orwa when Barsilinga stopped playing but their game ended in a draw. Shortly before mud bath time, Kithaka and Barsilinga came across the same still pool of water that they like to have a bath in and had a little mud bath.
At the main mud bath, the weather was chilly and the orphans were hesitant to get in the water to wallow. Vuria had a brief strength testing exercise with Bongo before Bongo finally lead the way into the water. Bongo was followed by Vuria, Mutara, Narok, Kainuk, Sities, Suguta and Kanjoro. While in water the boys had fun with Vuria riding on Bongo and Teleki riding on Kanjoro. Orwa and Kithaka were having their pushing game just outside the water. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area. It was a quiet afternoon as the orphans browsed without any major observations.
30 December 2015
Turkwel and Teleki exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks soon after leaving the stockade. On the way to the browsing field, Orwa tried to block the way for Kainuk as a way of inviting her for a pushing game. Kainuk wasn't interested and so shoved Orwa away. Orwa didn't lose hope as he waited for Shukuru who was the last to leave the stockade to see if she would accept his offer to play. Shukuru didn't even bother to respond but passed Orwa without a word. Orwa was left with no option but to follow his friends for browsing. Yatta’s herd of ex orphans numbering some 32 elephants passed at the stockade compound shortly before eleven o’clock in the morning on their way to Kalovoto area, and still the wild bulls were in their company.
At mud bath Bongo was the first one to get into the water as his friends showed some uncertainty due to the low temperature. After Bongo went into the water, some of his friends followed him in while the likes of Kithaka, Lemoyian, Barsilinga, Orwa, and Shukuru escaped and moved further away from the mud bath to wait for their friends. Shortly after, their friends in the water had enough and came out to join them. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse south west of the mud bath. Garzi came across a fallen tree that he used to scratch his belly on while Bomani engaged Barsilinga in a strength testing exercise. Shukuru, Mutara and Turkwel came across the stagnant pool water that they used to mud bathe in. In the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath where they all participated in an evening wallow.
31 December 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning, Kanjoro and Kithaka led the way straight to the browsing field. Mutara and Bomani shared food from the same tree and thereafter Bomani walked to join Barsilinga who these days has become his playmate. Lemoyian joined Mutara in browsing while Turkwel paired with Laragai in feeding. As the day progressed, Kanjoro engaged Teleki in a strength testing game that ended when Orwa forced himself into the game by pushing Teleki, so as to play with Kanjoro. At eleven o’clock in the morning, Teleki led the way to mud bath.
After taking their milk, Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian returned back to the browsing field. This was a trick they were using so as to avoid getting into the water to wallow. Bongo led the rest of his friends into the mud bath where they all played for approximately twenty minutes. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at the western side of the Ithumba Hill. The orphans browsed calmly until afternoon when they passed by the mud bath for an evening cool off. Later, Barsilinga led the way back to the stockade.